Apr 23, 2001

Round 6

Milov - Svidler

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5 Ne4 6. Bf4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. e3 O-O 9. cxd5 cxd4 10. cxd4 Qxd5 11. Be2 Nc6

It’s not an easy task to invent something new in the beginning of the Gruenfeld Defence. Many lines have been analysed very thoroughly until endgames. We saw already such an analysis in the fourth round when the opponents repeated one of previously played games until the twenty second move: 11... Qa5+ 12. Qd2 Nc6 13. Qxa5 Nxa5 14. Bc7 Nc6 15. Rb1 b6 16. O-O Bb7 17. Rfc1 Rac8 18. Bg3 Na5 19. Nd2 Rxc1+ 20. Rxc1 Rc8 21. Rxc8+ Bxc8 22. Ne4 Bb7 (Milov - Van Wely, Biel, 2000).

12. O-O Bf5 13. Qa4 Qa5 14. Qb3 Qb4 15. Rfc1 Rac8

16. Bc4

One year ago there was a draw after 16. Bb5 Be6 17. Qd3 Qa5 18. a3 Bd5 19. Rab1 Ba2 20. Ra1 Bd5 21. Rab1 Ba2 in the game Bareev - Kasparov (Sarajevo, 1999). Vadim Milov attempts to engage his opponent in a more complex struggle, still he fails as well as E. Bareev failed.

16... Qxb3 17. axb3 a6 18. Bd5 Bd3 19. Nd2 Rfd8 20. Bxc6 Rxc6 21. Rxc6 bxc6 22. Rc1 Bb5 23. Nb1

The advantage of two bishops makes up a fair compensation for the extra pawn islet by Black. Well, White even has to be careful. So, in case of 23. Ne4? he had to reckon not just with 23... f6 but also with a possible 23... Bxd4!. After 24. exd4 Rxd4 25. Re1 f5 26. Be5 (in case of 26. Nc5 Rxf4 27. Rxe7 Rd4 White still had to prove that there was a compensation for the missing pawn) 26... Rxe4 27. Rxe4 fxe4 White had problems in achieving a draw notwithstanding the different colours of the bishops on the board.

23... f6 24. Nc3 e5 25. dxe5 fxe5

Black agrees to get another isolated pawn in order to make his rook more active. In general there are merits and shortcomings which equalise the positions of the opponents.

26. Bg5 Rd3 27. g4 Bf8 28. Bf6 Ba3 29. Rc2 Bd6 30. Kg2 Kf7 31. g5 Ke6 32. Kf3 Kf5 33. Ne4 Ke6 34. Nc3 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Gallagher - Van Wely [B92]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Be3

In this game the Swiss grandmaster looks more aggressive than in the second round when he chose the continuation 8. O-O O-O 9. Kh1. Black got a convenient play then after 9... b6 10. a4 Bb7 11. f3 Nc6 12. Bg5 Nb4 13. Nb1 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Na3 Qc7 16. c3 Nc6 17. Nc4 Rad8 18. Ne3 Ne7 and eventually won (Gallagher - Svidler, Biel, 2000).

8... Be6 9. Nd5 Nbd7 10. Qd3 Bxd5 11. exd5 O-O 12. g4 Nc5

In case of an immediate 12... e4 to be followed with 13. Qd4 Nc5 14. h4 Nfd7 15. g5 White need not care much about the knight on c5.

13. Nxc5

But now the exchange was necessary because after 13. Qd2 Nfe4 and 14... Bg5 Black had a convenient play.

13... dxc5 14. O-O-O e4

The square e5 serves as a safety-place for the dark-squared bishop and the knight. Black was not good in case of 14... Bd6 15. g5 to be followed with 16. Qf5.

15. Qb3

The Swiss grandmaster has his own judgement concerning the problems of this position. The future World Champion played differently in the first additional game of the 1/8 final of the FIDE World Championship 1999. After 15. Qd2 Bd6 16. g5 Nd7 17. h4 Ne5 18. h5 Rc8 19. Rh4 c4 20. Rxe4 c3 21. bxc3 Qa5 22. Kb1 White managed to prove the merits of his position in the game Khalifman - Gelfand (Las Vegas (m/3), 1999).

15... Bd6

The pawn should be blocked up. After 15... b5 Black had to reckon with 16. d6 Bxd6 17. Bxc5, and in case of 15... b6 or 15... Qc7 there was 16. f3 to be followed with the advance g4-g5.

16. Qxb7 Nd7 17. Qc6 Qe7 18. Qa4 Nb6 19. Qa5 Rfb8 20. Rd2 Qb7 21. c4

White protects the pawn d5 reliably and covers the square b2 at the same time, however the prospects of his light-squared bishop which has no opponent become considerably worse now.

21... Qe7 22. Rc2 Nd7 23. Rc3

White wants to extinguish Black’s attacking potential with an exchange of a pair of rooks.

23... Be5 24. Rb3

24... Qf6!

Black need not hurry with the exchange, he just reinforces the position of his pieces instead. After 24... Rxb3 25. axb3 and then 25... Qf6 (if 25... Rb8, then there was a mere 26. Kc2 ) White took back the pawn with 26. g5 Bxb2+ 27. Kc2 Qe5 28. Bg4 Nf8 29. Bxc5 Qxg5 (after 29... Bd4 30. Bxd4 Qxd4 31. Qd2 White had time to defend everything and kept the material advantage) 30. h3 Bf6 31. Rd1 and consolidated his position, his passed d-pawn being very powerful with the support of the two bishops.

25. Qd2?!

Most probably this was not the best opportunity. Playing similarly to the line given above with 25. Kc2 Bxb2 26. g5 Qe5 27. Bg4 Nf8 28. Bxc5 was less effective here because of 28... Bd4!, and an immediate exchange of the bishops was bad as the pawn on c4 would have stayed undefended. The position to appear after 25. Rxb8+ Rxb8 26. b3 Bc3 (if 26... Bd4, then 27. Kc2) 27. g5 Qe5 28. Qxa6 Ba1 (in case of 28... Bd4 there was 29. Rf1) 29. Qa3 looked dangerous but really it was not too bad for White because it allowed him to consolidate his position with Kc1-b1 and then Qa3-c1.

25... Rxb3 26. axb3 a5 27. g5 Qb6 28. Qc2

An active 28. Bg4? was bad because of 28... a4! 29. bxa4 (there was no 29. Bxd7 because of 29... axb3) 29... Rxa4 with a won position by Black. In case of a passive 28. Bd1 White had to reckon with 28... Bd4 29. Bf4 (if 29. Bc2, then 29... a4) 29... Ne5, Black obtaining a good compensation for the pawn.

28... g6 29. Bg4

Defending this position is not an easy task. After 29. h4 f5 30. h5 Rb8 31. Bd1 White encountered 31... a4! anyway.

29... f5 30. gxf6 Nxf6 31. Be6+ Kg7 32. f4 exf3 33. Rf1

33... a4!

The inevitable has happened. Black broke through White’s defence on the queenside.

34. bxa4 Rxa4 35. Rxf3

There was no 35. Qxa4 because of 35... Qxb2+ 36. Kd1 Qe2+ 37. Kc1 Qxe3+ 38. Kb1 Qd3+, White losing a piece.

35... Ra1+ 36. Kd2 Ra2

After 36... Qb4+! 37. Kd3 Qe1 White’s tortures would not have lasted for so long. But now the struggle will linger.

37. Kd1 Rxb2 38. Qd3 Rxh2 39. Rf2 Rh1+ 40. Ke2 Rb1 41. Qa3 Rb4 42. Qa8 Rb2+ 43. Kf1 Rxf2+ 44. Kxf2

In case of 44. Bxf2 Bd4 45. Bxd4 cxd4 46. Qc8 Kh6 Black had a winning position too.

44... Bd4 45. Bxd4 cxd4 46. Qa3 d3+ 47. c5

If 47. Kf3, then there was a very strong 47... Qd4.

47... Qxc5+!

With a tactical trick Black reduces the game to a simple winning endgame.

48. Qxc5 Ne4+ 49. Ke3 Nxc5 50. Bg4 h5 51. Bd1 Kf6 52. Kd4 Nd7 53. Kxd3 Ke5 54. Ke3 Nb6 55. Kf3 Nxd5

Two extra pawns should be enough for Black to win. He only should be careful not to allow White to sacrifice his bishop for them or block them up on white squares.

56. Kg3 Kf5 57. Kh4 Nf4 58. Bc2+

In case of 58. Bf3 Black could have begun the advance of the pawns with 58... g5+.

58... Kf6 59. Bd1 Ng2+ 60. Kg3 Ne3 61. Ba4 Nf5+ 62. Kh3 g5 63. Bd1 Kg6 64. Be2 Kh6 65. Bf3 Nh4 66. Bd1 Ng6 67. Kg3 Ne5 68. Be2 g4 69. Kf4 Ng6+ 70. Kg3

In case of 70. Kf5 the solution was 70... g3 71. Bf1 g2 72. Bxg2 Nh4+.

70... Kg5 71. Ba6 h4+ 72. Kh2 Nf4 73. Bc8 g3+ 74. Kh1 Kf6 75. Kg1 Ke5 76. Kf1 Kd4 77. Bg4 Ke3 78. Kg1 h3 0-1 White resigned.

Gelfand - Ponomariov [B07]

1. e4

Sometimes Boris Gelfand begins to play with the king’s pawn, though not regularly. Still, we can recall his challenger match with Predrag Nikolic, played in 1991, where the Pirc-Robatsch Defence which was played in this game also occurred several times.

1... d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 b5 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. Nf3 e5 8. O-O Bb7 9. a4

An exchange of the bishops with 9. Bh6 Bxh6 10. Qxh6 ensured a good play for Black after 10... Ng4 11. Qd2 O-O 12. h3 Ngf6 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 dxe5 15. Rad1 Qe7 in the game Ni Hua-Ponomariov (Artek, 1999).

9... a6

A new move. 9... b4 10. Na2 exd4 11. Bxd4 c5 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. c3 a5 14. Rfe1 Bg7 15. Bb5 was seen previously in the game Moldovan - Ghinda (Stara Zagora, 1990) with better chances by White.

10. Rad1 Be7

A natural 10... Bg7 would have been followed with 11. dxe5 dxe5 (there was no 11... Nxe5? because of 12. Nxe5 dxe5 13. axb5 cxb5 14. Nxb5!), allowing White to bind up Black’s pieces with 12. Bg5. An attempt to get rid of the binding with 12... h6 (12... b4 was relatively better, though Black still had problems after 13. Ne2 c5 14. Ng3 h6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Bc4) 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 (if 13... Bxf6, then 14. axb5 axb5 15. Nxb5 cxb5 16. Bxb5!, and the same in case of 13... Qxf6 14. axb5 axb5 15. Bxb5!) 14. axb5 axb5 encountered a tactical refutation of 15. Nxb5!.

11. Bh6 exd4 12. Nxd4 b4 13. Nce2 c5 14. Nf3

14... Qc7

Black has not ventured to take the pawn with the move 14... Nxe4. After 15. Qf4 Nef6 (in case of 15... d5 White won with 16. Bxe4 dxe4 17. Ne5) 16. Rfe1 d5 17. Ng3 Qb8 (if 17... c4, then 18. Bg7 was extremely unpleasant) 18. Qe3 it was very hard for Black’s pieces to get rid of the bindings.

15. Nf4 Ne5

Again, it was very venturesome to take the sacrifice of the pawn with 15... c4 16. Be2 Nxe4 (if 16... c3, then after 17. bxc3 bxc3 18. Qe3 Nxe4 19. Rfe1 there was no castling 19... 0-0-0 because of 20. Bxa6! ) as there was 17. Nd5.

16. Nxe5 dxe5 17. Nd5

After 17. Bg7 Rg8 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 Qd6 Black could have put up a persistent defence on black squares.

17... Nxd5 18. exd5 c4

Now after 18... Bxd5 19. Rfe1 Black had still considerable problems.

19. d6!

Otherwise after 19. Be4 O-O-O Black would have managed to withdraw his king from the centre.

19... Bxd6

After 19... Qxd6 20. Bxc4 Qc6 (in case of 20... Qxd2 21. Rxd2 Black would have had to play a miserable endgame) 21. f3 Rd8 22. Qe2 Black had serious difficulties.

20. Bxc4 O-O-O 21. Qe2 a5 22. Bg7 Rhe8 23. Bf6 Rd7 24. Bb5 Bc6 25. c3 bxc3 26. bxc3 Re6 27. Bg5

So long the black king had no wide choice concerning the ways of his evacuation from the dangerous area. The line 27. Ba6+! Kb8 (27... Bb7 was bad because of 28. Rb1) 28. Bg5 deserved attention, ensuring a considerable positional advantage to White.

27... Bc5 28. Rb1 f6 29. Qc4?

Suddenly giving an excellent chance to Black. Better was 29. Ba6+ Kd8 30. Bc4.

29... Rd5?

Black ignores his chance. After 29... Bxb5! 30. Qxe6 (if 30. Qxb5, then after 30... fxg5 White had neither the attack nor the piece) 30... Bc4!! 31. Qg4 (there was no 31. Qxc4? because of 31... Bxf2+, and in case of 31. Qxf6 Rf7 32. Qh8+ Rf8 White’s queen was caught) 31... fxg5 (in case of 31... Bxf1 there was 32. Qf3) 32. Rfd1 h5 33. Qf3 Rxd1+ 34. Rxd1 Kb8 35. Qf6 Ka7 Black could have been sure about his future with his two bishops, exchanged for the White’s rook.

30. Be3?!

White misses again a good deal of his advantage. After 30. Bxc6 Qxc6 31. Qb3 Qa8 (Black’s position was bad also after 31... Bb6 32. Be3 Bc7 33. c4) 32. Be3 Bxe3 33. fxe3 Kc7 (if 33... Red6, then the solution was 34. e4, and in case of 33... Rdd6 there was 34. Rfd1 Rb6 35. Qa3, Black’s position becoming very dangerous) 34. e4 Rdd6 35. Kh1 White had an imposing advantage.

30... Bxe3 31. fxe3 Rdd6 32. Rfd1

After 32. Ba6+ Kd8 33. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 34. Rxd1+ Rd6 35. Qg8+ Be8 Black held as well as in case of 32. Rb2 Bxb5 33. Qxc7+ Kxc7 34. Rxb5 Rd3.

32... Bxb5 33. Qxb5 Rxd1+ 34. Rxd1 Rd6

34... Rc6 was dangerous because of 35. Qd5.

35. Rxd6

A forced move. After 35. Rb1 Qxc3 36. Qb7+ Kd8 37. Qxh7 Qxe3+ 38. Kh1 Qb6! Black’s king escaped White’s mating threats.

35... Qxd6 36. Qxa5

White wins a pawn, proceeding to a queen endgame, still this is obviously too little if we consider the huge positional advantage that he had had.

36... Qd1+ 37. Kf2 Qd2+ 38. Kf3 e4+ 39. Kxe4 Qxg2+ 40. Kd3 Qf1+ 41. Kd4 Qf2 42. Qc5+ Kd7 43. Qd5+ Kc7 44. Qc5+

After 44. Qf7+ Black maintained the equality with 44... Kd6!, whereas 44... Kc6?! allowed White to arrange serious threats to the black king with 45. Qe6+ Kc7 46. Kc5 Qxh2 47. Qe7+ Kb8 48. Kc6, and the line 48... Qb2 49. Qf8+ Ka7 50. Qb4 Qxb4 51. cxb4 led the game to a pawn endgame which was losing for Black because of 51... Kb8 52. b5 h5 53. a5 h4 54. a6 h3 55. b6 h2 56. a7+ Ka8 57. b7+ Kxa7 58. Kc7.

44... Kd7 45. Qd5+ Kc7 46. Qe4 Qxh2 47. Qe7+ Kc8 48. Qxf6 h5 49. Qf8+

If 49. Qxg6, then after 49... h4 the far advanced h-pawn was a guarantee against any big troubles for Black.

49... Kd7 50. Qf7+ Kc8 51. Qf8+ Kd7 52. Qg7+ Kc8 53. Kd5 Qa2+

53... h4 looked not bad as well, because in case of 54. Kc6 there was 54... Qg2+.

54. c4 Qxa4 55. Qxg6 Qd7+ 56. Ke4 Qb7+ 57. Kf4 Qc7+ 58. Kf3 Qxc4 59. Qxh5 Qf1+ 60. Kg3 Kd7 61. Qf3 Qxf3+ 62. Kxf3

Struggling until bare kings.

62... Ke7 63. Kg4 Ke6 1/2-1/2 Draw.

"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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